A Pasuk in Parashat Re’eih writes, “Ki Fato’ach Tiftach Et Yadecha Lo,” “But you will surely open your hands before him”(Devarim 15:8). Rashi explains that this Pasuk teaches us to give money, either as Tzedakah, or as a loan, to poor people who need our help. The Torah writes that one should give enough to “fill the needs that the person is missing.” The Gemara (Ketubot 67b) explains that you need to give to each poor person whatever he feels is missing. For example, if one is used to having a big house with fancy dishes, he must be provided with enough money to still have a big house with fancy dishes. For a simpler person, standard dishes might be good enough. If a person used to be very rich, and then became poor, he is not used to living with simple things, so he needs to be provided with a higher quality of living in order to maintain his self-esteem.
Rav Frand tells a beautiful story about Tzedakah. There were two brothers who used to be very rich, and they gave a great deal of Tzedakah. They loved giving Tzedakah and helping people who came to them for money. After a while, the brothers became very poor and had no more money left to donate. This made them very sad, because they could no longer perform the Mitzvah of Tzedakah. One day, a poor man came to their house who needed money very badly. The brothers felt terrible that they could not help him, and they even looked through the whole house to find something they could give the poor man, but they had no more money left. They kept looking through the house until they finally found one silver spoon that they could give the man. They broke it in half, and each brother gave the man their half of the spoon to fulfill their long loved Mitzvah.
This story shows us the dedication that these brothers had to the Mitzvah of Tzedakah, and how important it was to them. We should each try to make the Mitzvah of Tzedakah is just as important to us as it was to them.